Posted by: Laura | January 30, 2010

Mid-life Crisis at 30?

I don’t think so but that’s what many are asking.

Then why would I want to leave my home and family behind to live overseas all by myself? And why now?

To start, I’m 30 years young and originally from the great state of Virginia in the United States. But I’m eager to begin my exciting adventure. Ever since I was 14 years old, I have wanted to get out and see the world. In middle school I was lucky enough to be a part of a student ambassador trip (across the Pacific Ocean) in New Zealand and Australia. While I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and loved every minute of it – I regret to admit that I don’t remember most of my three weeks spent away from home…apart from the major (and i mean major) highlights. Believe me, I know how sad that sounds. However, that trip is what sparked my desire to travel and experience other cultures and lifestyles outside of my own.

Throughout high school and college I continued to travel to surrounding countries and around the States, but stuck fairly close to my home country. Mexico. Canada. The Bahamas. And every state on USA’s East Coast – and some additional states down South and in the Mid-West. But that still wasn’t enough. Europe had always eluded me. After I graduated college I ventured out into the real world (aka got a job that I hated) to save up enough money for a 3-week tour of the Bavarian Region in Europe. Ironically enough, the intention of that trip was solely to visit my dream country…Ireland. Why didn’t I end up there you ask? Well, money and time had a lot to do with it. Not to mention I was young and inexperienced in traveling (with no itinerary) so I didn’t realize I could have spent the entire 3-weeks in Ireland and would have been more than satisfied with places to see and things to do. My thinking was I wanted to see as many of my favorite dream destinations as possible while I was in Europe since it cost so much just to get there. Since I had a love of beer and The Sound of Music, I ended up touring Southern Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. I learned a lot during those three short weeks. And, developed a true passion for how other cultures differed from that in America. And by the time I got home I had a strong feeling that I belonged somewhere other than Virginia – or anywhere in the United States for that matter. BUT, I didn’t realize at that time that it was possible to go after my dream. So, I took another job (which was a GREAT job) in North Carolina and tried that for a while.

With the fall of the economy, things just kept getting slower and slower at the marketing firm where I worked. At the risk of sounding cliché, that was when I made the decision to see if I could make my far-fetched dream a reality. I mean, I’m young and single and have saved up some money (like a good little girl) – when else would I have the chance to do this? So, I left my job, pulled some money out of my investments, and got on a plane to Ireland to see if it was possible to find a job or another avenue to stay overseas for a while.

I was nervous and excited all at the same time. Many people said I was brave to travel by myself. Brave? Really? I was always surprised to hear so people say this but I guess not everyone is built for solo travel to unknown destinations. I guess I have always been independent and liked to do things my own way so it seemed like a normal thing to do. What I learned was that traveling by yourself is truly the most rewarding experience a young adult can do. Really! I think that as a (then) 29-year-old, I was just beginning to really be comfortable with myself and to trust my decisions. By taking this trip, I was forced to learn what I was really made of. The good, the bad, and the ugly. During that first week of my trip many of the hostels were empty (as it was nearing the end of touring season) and the few people that were staying in the hostels didn’t seem interested in company. Believe me, I tried. When you are by yourself in a small town with no one to talk to, you really learn about what type of person you are and what types of situations you can overcome. However, I found the Irish community to be the most welcoming, outgoing, and talkative bunch of people I’d ever met. And I talk quite a bit so that’s saying a lot. Needless to say, I met a lot of interesting people and made some friendships I think I’ll have for a long time.

I also visited many more new countries and cities throughout Europe and made some awesome friends and contacts from all over the world. (Of course I could go on all day about my recent and wonderful trip but that’s what this blog is for so I won’t.) When it was time for me to come home (hey, I’m not rich you know) I knew what I had to do. I needed to get things in order back in NC so I could truly do what was in my heart. Move to Ireland – and keep experiencing other countries around the world. So, I found a job in Ireland to keep me there at least 3 months then rushed home to take care of business so I could get back over there.

This brings us to today. I’m almost packed and ready to go. I’ve found someone to rent my house and sold my car. Not to mention I’ve either sold, donated, or given away most of my other possessions so I can leave the country for the next year…or more! Who knows! I’m excited to start this new chapter in my life. I already know I’ll be spending a few months in Ireland and a year in Australia…with countless other places I’d like to see somewhere in there. I hope you will enjoy reading about my journey and the many life lessons I’m sure to learn along the way!

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Responses

  1. Laura,I have enjoyed reading your blog.I have signed up to get each new blog when you post them.You are such a writer.I am so glad that I can keep in touch w/ you.I have thought of you often throughout the years and would ask Melissa about you.So,now I am glad that I can keep in touch first hand.Stay safe sweetie 🙂

    • thanks so much, cindy! what a nice thing to say. i hope i can continue to write interesting stories and share this wonderful opportunity with everyone over the next year. keep in touch!

  2. Exciting! A week away!!! 🙂
    Looking forward to reading more!
    Love ya!

    • thanks girl! yeah, can’t believe it’s almost time to leave!! looking forward to seeing ya this week. love you too!

  3. Wow! First of all that was a really good and fun read. I hope you have a lot of fun on your travels and best of luck!

    • thanks, chase! glad you enjoyed it. 🙂 congrats to you and lara on your new addition to the family! keep in touch!

  4. Good for you! So glad that you are doing what you want. Keep me informed…..
    How is little bro and dad? How old is little bro????

    • Gotta take what life hands you and make the most of it, right? 🙂 Dad and Matthew are great. They live out in Roanoke now and they both enjoy doing things outdoors. Matthew is 17 (which I still can’t believe), loves to go rock climbing, and is getting ready for college in the fall.


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